A genuine one stop shop for the discerning beer tourist, Holgate's Woodend Brewhouse combines a brewery, public bar, restaurant and hotel under a single roof. Just an hour from Melbourne, in the shadow of the Macedon Ranges, you'll to find a bar lined with site-brewed beers on tap, including some hand-pulled from the cask in traditional British fashion.
The unintended consequence of holidays in England ('93) and the USA ('97) for owners Paul and Natasha Holgate, the business started life in 1999 as an extension of his home brewery while both still worked in the city, but soon demanded a bigger venue. They took over Woodend's former Commercial Hotel/Keatings Hotel and have never looked back, producing an ever-expanding range of beers inspired by classic styles from Europe and the North American micro scene, as well as barrel-aged and other experimental beers.
Visitors can watch beer being made in the brewery, head to the bar for a tasting paddle, including a beer poured through their homemade 'Randall' (a machine that adds a hit of fresh hop flowers to the beer before it reaches your glass), then move to the restaurant for a meal, many of which are cooked with Holgate's beers as a key ingredient. And, if you've had one too many, Natasha will find you a clean, comfortable room upstairs for the night.
Drinkers nationwide can get their hands on the wide range of Holgate beers more readily these days too, following a series of upgrades and expansions in advance of their 15th anniversary in October 2014. Further expansion is planned too with grand plans to extend onto land at the rear of the hotel and build a tasting room and educational centre.